North Central Michigan College (NCMC) has received an Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC) grant of $87,500 to support its Early Childhood Education (ECE) program. Funding will support an Innovation Access and Impact Analysis, which will help Emmet County child care business owners access available resources and understand how innovation might affect their business goals and growth.

“With the help of this grant, child care businesses will have a clearer path to support their business goals,” said NCMC President David Roland Finley. “Existing and new child care programs will be able to better access resources and adopt business models that support high-quality child care, inclusive of worthy, equitable wages.”

The ECE program team is comprised of Jennifer Wixson, ECE program coordinator and lead faculty member at NCMC, Susan Chowen, quality improvement consultant with the Great Start to Quality Northwest Resource Center, and Karen Kling, senior strategic project manager at Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan.

Through interviews and focus groups, the team will assess the needs, challenges, and barriers child care business owners currently face. They will catalog the owners’ knowledge and use of current innovations and resources and recruit between four and six pilot programs –– a combination of in-home family or group child care businesses, private, center-based child care businesses, and publicly or third-party sponsored center-based businesses –– to perform a business model comparison.

“We will compare current financial models to the optimal financial model to determine the impact existing and proposed innovations might have on supporting the business’ financial model and growth goals,” Wixson said.  “We are excited about this project and look forward to generating data that will benefit Emmet County and the hardworking parents who are in need of quality child care.”